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WiMax Emerging?

March 4th, 2004 · No Comments

The Seattle Times writes:

Now an even newer technology is following in Wi-Fi’s path and beginning to command center stage. It’s called WiMax and predictions of its future swing between extremes, too. Some supporters imagine a day when it replaces the need for Wi-Fi hotspots locations where Wi-Fi is accessible while others offer a more tempered vision of the two technologies working together.

WiMax would allow an operator to place antennas on just a couple of towers in a town to offer wireless Internet access just about everywhere. Customers within two or three miles of an antenna could share Internet access at speeds of 75 megabits per second (Mbps), likely receiving 1 or 2 Mbps each. Users as far as 30 miles away would have access as well, albeit at slower speeds.

By contrast, Wi-Fi connects users to a landline Internet connection at 11 to 54 megabits per second, and a Wi-Fi cloud extends only a few hundred feet. And while Wi-Fi is an extension of wired Internet access, WiMax could be marketed as an alternative to DSL or cable-modem service for residential users or small businesses. Eventually, proponents envision a portable service that subscribers could access around town via laptops or handheld devices.

But it’s too early to tell if any piece of that vision will come to fruition. Products based on the standard aren’t expected to be available until the end of this year at the earliest, and so far, no major wireless carrier has pledged to build a WiMax network.

The more prevalent thinking, however, is that Wi-Fi and WiMax will each fill a need in the market. WiMax was built for reaching across wide distances but not necessarily for what Wi-Fi does best: network different devices within a building.

WiMax could be quite useful in rural India also.

Tags: Telecom

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